A middle-aged British diplomat reminisces about his life from his college days at Cambridge through his early fifties. The protagonist, Charles Anderson, leads us through World War I, first love, and the progression of his diplomatic career. Tragedy during World War II almost ends his career. A continuous thread throughout the novel is Charles' turbulent relationship with his distant and difficult father. Set in the years just as WWI was ending to the advent of WWII, it is the story of an English diplomat that moves between the past and present.